For many years, the idea of vertical farming is being discussed as a hot issue that either it can overcome the food shortage in the world or not. It may seem like the concept of vertical farming has many startups to go for, but it is a good way for food production in the areas where arable land is very rare. This method is best suited for the degraded and challenging environments mountainsides and deserts where diverse types of fruits and vegetables are grown by using the skyscraper designs and precision agricultural technologies.
Vertical farming is a sustainable method as it has brought revolution in agriculture. It offers a great saving of soil and space. Additionally, it also lowers the water requirement by up to 70%. Due to eco-friendly methods vertical farming has brought innovation in the agricultural system due to its eco-friendly methods and capabilities of good farming in difficult environments.
Hydroponic System of Growing Plants
Hydroponics is a well-known and predominant system of vertical farming and slowly but steadily it is gaining significant attention in the farming sector. In this system, the plants are grown in the solution or water in which there is a proper mixing of essential plant nutrients. In this system, the plant roots are submerged in the nutrient solution. There is frequent and proper circulation of air along with the specialized monitoring for ensuring the optimum concentration and mixing of nutrients in the solution.
Aeroponics is one of the best innovations in vertical farming. Initially, this concept was brought to reality by the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) in 1990. This technique was proposed for growing the plants in the space. At that time, this technique was coined as aeroponics. In aeroponics, the plants are grown in the mist or air with a little amount of water and there is no use of soil. Even though the interest in vertical farming has been increased in the past few years but still this technique is not much common. In vertical farming, aeroponics is one of the most efficient ways as it only uses 10% water as compared to the hydroponic system. The uptake of minerals and vitamins is much more in the aeroponic growing conditions, thereby it makes the plant more nutritious and healthier.
The main concept of aquaponics aims to provide an ecosystem that promotes the growth of both fish and plants at the same time. Generally, there is much resemblance between the aquaponics and hydroponics system but in terms of sustainable benefits, an aquaponic system is more beneficial. In these conditions, the fish are allowed to grow inside the pond or water bodies. The waste produced by the fish is rich in the nutrients that are a good source of food for the plants growing in the vertical farming conditions. Here plants also play an important role in purification and filtration of water in the fish pond. As compared to the other conditions in vertical farming the aquaponics is practiced at a small scale. However, many commercial growers are also using this technique to produce fast-growing crops Resultantly, the economic issues about production are simplified. Additionally, efficiency is also maximized. By the utilization of new emerging standards in the aquaponic system, this close cycling setup may become more popular.
The main concept of Lokal was offered by the IKEA’s innovation lab named as Space10. In the Lokal, there is the utilization of a hydroponic system of farming. Sometimes the LED lights can also be used for the stackable trays in the kitchen gardening. The Lokal designers have proved on the experimental basis that the growth of greens three times better and faster than the system of kitchen gardening. Some other innovations are also being tested by the integration of sensors in the growing trays that is significantly helpful for checking the crop’s status by using the google homes or smartphones. On a long-term basis, they are also interested to utilize the machine learning for collection and analyzing the data for productivity assessment. This innovation is greatly helpful for growing fresh and nutritious rich foods in small farms.
Aerofarms are commercially leading in indoor farming as the innovative technology of aerofarming ensures the reality-based high yield with no negative influences on the environment. It offers faster growth, harvesting, and superior quality of foods. In this system, there is no requirement of soil or sun. Due to this condition, the results of harvesting can be easily controlled. In this technique of vertical farming, there is a proper use of smart nutrition, smart aeroponics, smart light, smart data, smart substrate, smart scaling, and smart pest management. The main purpose of aerofarming is the transformation of the whole agricultural system by building environmentally responsible farms. The innovators of this technology are building the farms throughout the globe so that the local production of food can be safe, sustainable, delicious, and nutritious. Shortly, by the utilization of this technology more crops can be grown in much less area for bringing revolution in food production.
Plantagon that is a well-known Swedish based food technology company is offering the best creative solution for utilization of buildings and office spaces that in turn can produce enough food to feed people across the globe. By the utilization of innovative methods in the system of vertical farming, the Plantagon company is offering a vertical greenhouse from Åke Olsson who is an organic farmer and believes that the technical innovations in vertical farming are the most effective farming solution. He has developed a rack system for transportation that causes the gradual movement of plant boxes from floor to ceil in the vertical greenhouse, thus reducing the requirement of artificial light.
The Plantscapers or vertical greenhouses are directly integrated into the office and buildings with the proper functionality offered for the hydroponic farming system. The name of this building will be world food building and it will be built with the main aim to produce 550 tons of vegetables each year and it will be constructed in the Linköping, city of Sweden. This estimated amount of vegetable production will be enough to feed at least 5000 persons. There will be the employment of high-level automation for maintenance and harvesting to ensure the low cost of production. In addition to this, nutrition, temperature, sunlight, and air quality will be measured by using controlled autonomous systems. In short, it can be said that it is the best innovation to meet the increasing food demand on a sustainable basis. By utilization of this technique, a good amount of water and energy can be saved. With the more success of this concept, some other countries like the United States, Hong Kong, and Singapore are planning to adopt this technology.
Verticrop: For Urban Areas
An excellent proprietary technique has been offered in the agricultural system that was categorized as the greatest innovation in the world in 2009 by the Times magazine. This technology is patent depending and its design and development were mainly focused on growing the food in natural ways in the bustling environment of urban areas. For quality food production, this paradigm shift is offering sustainable ways of farming. As compared to the standard food yield the yield of this system can be twenty times higher. Additionally, this system only requires 8% water as compared to the traditional soil farming system. This innovation in vertical farming aims to work on the configuration of a suspended tray that is unique enough to move in the conveyor system. This system is offering optimal exposure to natural and artificial light. In addition to this, the application of nutrients is after the precise measurements according to the needs of specific plants and their growth stages. Its design ensures healthy crop growth in the closed-loop and controlled environments. Furthermore, there is no need to use dangerous pesticides and herbicides for maximizing food value.
The system of modular farming is very sustainable and exclusive. This great innovation in vertical farming was offered by the company known as Modular Farms. This system is entirely indoor and can produce fresh and healthy plants in any part of the world and any climate. Its design is custom built and is focusing on urban farming ideas. The modulation can be done according to the scaling needs and various modules are available for diverse purposes. Solely, this system is concentrating on plant health and farmer ROI. This system utilizes the best possible pairing of the farm containers and it is approved technology for getting the best yields. By optimizing the balance endless growth can be observed in local plant produces. The system can be customized according to the needs and its functionality can be described according to the requirements. Due to these adjustments any size of operation can be accommodated in this system.
Cubic Farming Systems
The CEO of cubic farms Dave Dinesen has pointed out that the next generation will be comprised of profitable, predictable, and consistent farm productions. The working of this system is based on the conveyor rotations. In this system, there is the provision of LED lighting, and the delivery of nutrients is also done by the automated system. An optimal environment is created for the greens for the fast-growing crops. The amount of water used in this system is also very little as compared to the traditional agricultural systems. In addition to this, there is no involvement of any risks like that of common farming as there is proper and controlled use of inputs. In turn, this system can produce a more predictable and steady income. This system also offers consistency in color, size, and taste of the produce. It also ensures higher nutritional value and longer shelf life of the green products.
The concept of zipgrow is offered with the motto to educate, equip, and empower. The dedicated team of zipgrow has offered innovative solutions for farming for modern farmers by eliminating the need experience and advance tools for starting the farming business based on hydroponics. Zipgrow is understanding all the challenges that are faced by the common average farmers. Resultantly zipgrow is building a multitude of products and services that can be possibly stacked in the favor of average farmers. They have brought revolution in the system of vertical farming with the control measures and vertical plane technology. The designs of their system are based on the high technology workflow which has countless benefits for the farmers on a global scale.
Bowery is an indoor farming company that has offered technological advances in the vertical farming system. This technology is capable is to produce 30 times more yield than the 100 kinds of leafy greens and herbs. The company has claimed that this system can entirely control the indoor growing process without using any weedicides and pesticides through the technology system known as BoweryOS. Automatically, this technology will generate ideal conditions for growing plants. By using this technology, the data about plant growth can also be collected. This data is significantly helpful for providing the exact amount of purified water, nutrients, and light energy. Additionally, the sophisticated analysis allows harvesting at the right time, at best optimal conditions. This system only requires 5% water as compared to the traditional system of farming.
Rogers Stirk Harbour is a well-known architectural firm in London that along with its partners has offered the concept of Skyfarm in 2014 during the World Architectural Festival. This idea is focused on building the hyperboloid tower that utilizes various farming techniques including methods of soil-based planting and aquaponics for producing the crops in the denser urban areas or in those areas where arable land is not enough for soil-based cultivation. A multi-story building is made by using the bamboo for creating the circular and rigid frame while the exposure of sun to the farm is maximized. This tower offers growth to both fish and crop growth through the recirculation system. The nutrients produced from the waste of fish are utilized by the plants, whereas, plants filter the water for the survival of fish. At the bottom of the tower, a large and transparent tank is provided that is filled with fresh water for the fish. In the middle section of the tower, there is the growth of plants in the technical system of hydroponics. Additionally, there is no use of soil in this system and only mist is sprayed on the plants. On the top section of tower turbines and water, tanks are provided. This tower is a sustainable solution for food production in a short time. The food can be produced throughout the year even in the densely crowded urban areas.
Sky greens is a well-reputed company based in Singapore that has developed a revolution in the system of vertical farming. This company has offered the first hydraulic-driven low carbon farm in the world. In this system, the plantation of vegetables is on the shelves and throughout the day their rotation is ensured. When the plants are rotated at the bottom, they get water and when they are rotated at the top they get sufficient sunlight for ensuring the continuous growth of the plants. In this approach, the use of energy, land, and water is minimized as compared to traditional farming techniques. In addition to this, the advanced system in vertical farming is capable enough to produce 10 times higher yields as compared to the traditional systems. Currently, the utilization of this system is for growing Asian vegetables, but it can also be used for all kinds of veggies and fruits. Vertical farming is the best and attractive option for food production on a sustainable basis as it can produce quality products along with a great reduction in the costs. These vertical farming techniques are gaining popularity as they are capable to completely revolutionize the agricultural systems for food production.